• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Has childhood obesity in Britain been socially constructed?

Extracts from this document...


Contents Introduction page 2 Argument page 4 Conclusion page 9 Bibliography page 10 Introduction Has childhood obesity in Britain been socially constructed? Increasing rates of obesity appear to be common to the process of industrialisation and have been linked with many factors, including a more sedentary lifestyle and diets high in fat and sugars and an abundance of food. (Gordon, Richard, 2000) The number of children suffering from obesity has increased dramatically since the mid 1980's in the UK. However this is not just a UK problem but also a global issue. Results in America have shown that the numbers with obesity have doubled since 1980. (Brown, Liz, 2001) Obesity is defined as "An abnormal accumulation of body fat usually 20% or more over an individuals ideal body weight. Obesity is associated with the increased risk of illness, disability, and death."(Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine online) Although there is not one definitive method of calculating obesity, one method calculates body mass index (BMI). This is calculated by squaring height (in metres) and dividing weight (in Kg) by this figure. If the BMI is 30 or over that indicates obesity, this is true for adults. For children one way is to calculate the BMI and then use the following table to determine if the child is obese. Age Boys are overweight if BMI exceeds: Girls are overweight if BMI exceeds: Boys are obese if BMI exceeds: Girls are obese if BMI exceeds: 5 17.4 17.1 19.3 19.2 6 17.6 17.3 19.8 19.7 7 17.9 17.8 20.6 20.5 8 18.4 18.3 21.6 21.6 9 19.1 19.1 22.8 22.8 10 19.8 19.9 ...read more.


(Gunter, Barrie, 1998). Children are very easily influenced by the magic of adverts and put pressure on their parents to buy the products. Also there have been several changes to the laws concerning education that may have had an affect on the levels of obesity. Free education was available to elementary children from 1891.As was found at the time of the Boer War when many conscripts were found to be too malnourished and physically unfit to fight in the war (Fraser, Derek, 1984), it soon became apparent that children were not able to be educated properly if they were in poor health. This was especially true for the lower class where many children were starving. The government therefore introduced legislation in 1906 to authorise the LEAs to spend public money on meals for undernourished children. Following the Beveridge Report, which was seen as a cradle to grave provision came the main Education Act in 1944. In this it gave free compulsory education from the age of five to fifteen. Services for free milk and medical and dental treatment were provided and school meals were to be provided for all children who wanted them. This was as a result of the deficiency in education that had been revealed by the evacuation of children in cities during the war. (Fraser, Derek, 1984) These services were later reduced and in 1980 and 1986 the obligation to provide free school milk and to provide school meals was removed. Nowadays there is no obligation to supply free school milk or meals to any child. ...read more.


Walk to school weeks should be encouraged; any introduction to physical activity is help. (www.aso.org.uk) Conclusion Society and modernisation has been seen as a cause of obesity. Our ancestors ate high calorie foods and fats in order to manage in times when food was scarce, this was a necessity. Therefore evolutionarily we had been encouraged to eat fats in order to survive. Nowadays we do not have the scarcity of food and in the UK food is available all year round. The environment has changed dramatically only in the last hundred years yet evolution takes millions of years. It will therefore be a very long time before our evolutionary genes have caught up with today's environment. Our genes are still programmed to the ancient environment and the need to eat fats etc. (Brownell, Kelly, 1998) It has been shown that reduced activity that has been a major consequence of modernisation by the introduction of labour saving devices and the automation of labour has been an important cause of obesity. The basic equation that governs weight changes i.e. the difference between the amounts of energy consumed and the energy used, is fundamental. Today's more sedentary society has to re-adjust the equation if it is to reduce the numbers suffering from obesity. (Gordon, Richard, 2000) Some of the policies mentioned as a method to combat obesity are already being used and are raising the awareness of the problem. Social policies by the government are required. However, some policies that have been introduced for the good such as the laissez-faire and encouraging competition as a way to improve things have also had a disastrous effect on other issues. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays


    Ausubel (1987) also suggests that students learn more efficiently when they are presented with material in an organized sequenced form that can be assimilated to their previous knowledge. Quinn (2000) believes this approach is very appropriate for adult learners who have a wealth of prior knowledge and experience and are able to manipulate ideas.

  2. Discuss the view that childhood is socially constructed.

    Another example of child labour still existing today is when some large companies still hire children in places like Korea and India to manufacture goods inexpensively so as they can gain a larger profit. There is not one obvious age at which a child makes the transition into adulthood.

  1. This curriculum plan is to be based on children aged between nought to two ...

    The adults must stay in the barn. To get everyone back to the barn safely the baby animals must say their mothers name correctly as you call them. The baby animal must then find its mother in the barn. The two then raise their hands together and make the right sound.

  2. Child Labour.

    Another solution would be for a state to require education for all children, the number of working children decreases (Parker 82). Factories might go out of business due to not having enough production manufactured by the children and paying too much for adults to work.

  1. What causes crime?

    Evaluating Cornish and Clark's Theory There have been several other studies that support the idea of rationalising, for example, Rettig (1966), Feldman (1977) and Bennet and Wright (1984). Although research supports RCT there are a couple of considerations: Firstly, research that involves convicted criminals may suggest that the theory only

  2. Are the lives of children 'socially constructed

    According to some historians childhood was non existent in Western culture until the 15th century. Philippe Aries was a theorist who became a big influence in this area. He argued that medieval society lacked the idea of childhood and most of his evidence was based on paintings from this era.

  1. A sociological investigation into cohabitation in Britain today.

    I have chosen this sample in the hope that I will gain a wide variety of couples and ages, without attempting to manipulate who participates. The gender of my participants shall also be randomly selected, rather than pre-determined. I shall also distribute my questionnaires in a variety of places sixth form college, workplace, public areas)

  2. I have decided to do my portfolio on Beaufort Park School, for several reasons. ...

    to visit the school for parent's evenings, plays, sports occasions etc, but the school hopes that they will be able to visit the school on a more informal basis. * Parents should spend at least ten minutes a few times a week working with their child at home, to help improve their skills.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work